The Hero Institute, the Justice Corps, and the Diplomats

Jun 22, 2017

When the first generation ships left Earth, each had a very small population of super-powered heroes aboard, mixed with a much larger population of typical humans. As the ships traveled, the fraction of supers aboard each ship increased, due to exposure to the Unobtanium engines.

Opinions about super-powered humans were highly varied aboard the Justice.  Some thought that super-powered humans were the future of humanity and might seize control.  Others thought that they were a sign that the Unobtanium wasn’t safe for humans to be near, and that the first generation ships should land on planets to be dismantled.  Many wondered whether super-powered humans would wreak havoc and destroy everyone’s way of life.

Until Robert D. Walters tipped the scales.

After he was rescued from an untimely accident by a heroic super-powered bystander, Robert D. Walters decided to devote his life towards championing the cause and image of humans with superpowers. A well-known billionaire philanthropist, he created the Hero Institute to help protect super-powered humans, both legally and in the court of public opinion. The Hero Institute is the umbrella organization uniting heroes on Earth and on all of the generation ships. Walters firmly believed that all humans had the power to be a force of good – both in society, and in the galaxy as a whole. So he built an organization to recruit, train, and guide them.

Several centuries later, time and alien invasions have changed society’s views on humans with superpowers to be far more positive than in Robert Walter’s day.  Still, the Hero Institute lives on as an organization for promoting and helping superheroes of all skills levels and experience.  Each generation ship has a local defense affiliate named after the ship; each branch offers trainers to help superheroes reach their full potential, places to test out powers, and a job board to help superheroes find work that matches their skill levels and experience.

On the FHS Justice, the Hero Institute’s most well-known department is the Justice Corps, which organizes the most veteran, combat-focused heroes to do the toughest missions.  Although any Ship of Heroes character will eventually become strong enough to join the Justice Corps, most NPC heroes aboard the ship have powers that are either not suited for combat, or too limited to face the galaxy’s biggest threats.

The Justice Corps is led by Ambassador, under whom good relations with the ship crew, law enforcement, and the general population are at an all-time high.  Ambassador often takes part in Justice Corps raids directly, believing that a commander should lead from the front.  His squad of personal friends in the Corps jokingly call themselves the Diplomats, in reference to early failed attempts to negotiate with the Nagdellians.  The nickname has stuck, leading to widespread (though false) rumors that the FHS Justice‘s actual negotiators are not to be messed with.  Some even believe that this confusion was an intentional plot by Ambassador to discourage attacks on diplomats and noncombat personnel.  Either way, many heroes have been inspired to take up arms by tales of the Justice Corps’ accomplishments over the years.

Technical Notes


The lore and video in this release demonstrate significant progress in the creation of Ship of Heroes in multiple areas. The video shows a packaged executable in a client-server architecture. An executable is what we would provide to a player to install and play the game. This is an important feature because some things work in the Unreal 4 Editor but do not work in an executable version of a game.

The Justice Corps building, which co-locates with the Hero Institute in-game, is fully PBR with respect to textures, normal mapping, etc. It also has a custom collision model applied which allows a flying player to land on ledges, corners, and landing pads. This demonstrates the level of collision modeling we plan to deliver for all of the buildings and major objects in Apotheosis City. This precise work was done by our team members – four of our five artists worked on the Justice Corps building, at various points.

Our player animations have been altered and refined since our last video.  Flight, hovering, and landing have all been adjusted, and likely will be again in future upgrades.  These are custom animations unique to Ship of Heroes, as are many of our powerset animations – but high-quality work requires continuous improvement.  We cannot simply use stock animations; they need to be integrated into the game and then refined and improved over time so that they match up with the other components.

Similarly, the visual and sound FX for the Fiery Blast powerset are the current work in progress.  Most of these have been subtlely upgraded and modified since out last video.   We have also added five new powers to this powerset; it is effectively complete now, demonstrating steady production, revision, and improvement.  It is our plan to reveal up to eight powersets, with a focus on the more visually-dramatic offensive powersets, by the end of 2017.

Our Powers Testing Center, or PTC, is a custom creation from our art team that is designed to illustrate one aspect of life aboard the Justice.  Instead of practice dummies or robots, players test their powers against holograms of Nagdellian soldiers who react and fire back, but inflict no damage.  The walls of the PTC illustrate different levels of reflection, and we plan to show some powersets at night in future releases.  Fiery Blast is AOE-heavy, so we have coded damage numbers from the primary target to show in red, while damage to secondary targets is shown in yellow to make it easier to see what is happening.  Damage values are placeholders.


Overall, we are thrilled to be able to share this video.  Just seeing it reminds us how much fun it is to fly around in a city that has been designed for flight.  It is exciting for your hero character to have a selection of cool powers, and to look forward to getting the next one – to choose which powers to take and which to skip, so that each character is personalized to the playstyle you want to try.

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